Go Set a Watchman

by: Harper Lee

Part IV

Atticus has to eat breakfast with utensils jammed into big wooden spools, since his arthritis prevents him from handling normal utensils. When he picks up his milk glass, the milk spills, and Jean Louise helps clean it up. She wonders how he can look the same after yesterday’s meeting.

Henry comes in and tells Jean Louise that he had seen her in the balcony yesterday. Henry asks Jean Louise if everything is all right, but Jean Louise doesn’t tell him how horrified she had been. Henry tells Atticus that Zeebo’s son ran over and killed old Mr. Healy. Zeebo is Calpurnia’s son.

Atticus says that they will take the case to defend Zeebo’s son, and Jean Louise is relieved. Atticus and Henry discuss why it’s a strategic advantage for Atticus to take the case. Apparently, lawyers paid for by the NAACP wait like hawks for cases involving black people, and they make a huge fuss about making sure that black people are on the jury, so it’s easier for everyone if these lawyers don’t have the opportunity to become involved.

Jean Louise mechanically agrees to meet Henry again that night for a date. She goes to the grocery store, where the owner, who has known her all her life, asks Jean Louise why she hasn’t moved back to Maycomb yet. Jean Louise puts the groceries on Atticus’s tab.

Jean Louise returns home, picks up her father, and drops him off at the barbershop. She drives to Calpurnia’s house, where a crowd of the town’s most prominent and well-respected black citizens has gathered. When Jean Louise arrives, people stiffen, remove their hats, and part ways to let her through. Zeebo leads her into the house to see Calpurnia.

Calpurnia has shrunk in her old age. Jean Louise tells Calpurnia that Atticus will help Zeebo. Calpurnia replies with bad grammar, which Jean Louise instantly recognizes as Calpurnia’s company manners. Jean Louise implores Calpurnia to take off her company attitude, but Calpurnia doesn’t flinch, and there is no hint of compassion in her eyes.